Have you ever come home from a tiring day at work, or ended a busy party weekend, only to feel utterly broken, unhealthy, and unhappy about the general course of your life? Often when such moments arise, people brush them off and move on stubbornly, repeating the same lifestyle patterns, and getting more and more stressed. Unfortunately people typically go without addressing the underlying behavioral and health issues.

Sometimes, people will throw their hands up in the air in despair, and seek out prescription medication as soon as possible. What about starting with a holistic approach to overhauling your health and lifestyle, instead? What if you could address your problems at the root, rather than just treating the symptoms?

Here are a few suggestions for getting started with holistic health practices.

Free yourself from all addictive substances

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re addicted to a substance, it’s doing you no favors. In fact, it is likely wrecking your health systematically. People are quite good at grasping this concept with it comes to hard drugs. They are often less able to see the issue, however, when the same criticism is applied to their own daily pot of coffee, or those glasses of red wine with dinner.

The bottom line is that any addictive substance — nicotine, caffeine, alcohol — will have a detrimental effect on your body and the ability of your body to cleanse in a same day and balance its hormones and processes properly.

Caffeine, for example, chronically elevates stress hormones and makes your body less sensitive to dopamine (one of the primary hormones involved in motivation). This, in turn, leads to impaired mood, impaired organ function, insomnia, and potential blood sugar issues among other things. Alcohol kills neurons, slows the central nervous system, and stresses various organs. To begin improving your health holistically, quit all addictive substances (and be prepared for the withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts).

 

Eat in a way that makes you feel happy, fulfilled, and energetic

A major cause of emotional distress, as well as poor physical health, is obsessive cycles of crash dieting and binging.  Not only is frequent, large-scale weight loss and weight gain unhealthy in and of itself, but such an approach to dieting will also ruin your metabolic health, and potentially compromise the function of various organs, including the thyroid gland.

Begin eating healthy, home-cooked foods, with a balance of fats, carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals. Eat until you’re satisfied at every meal, and stop obsessively watching the scale. You may gain some weight at first, but this is likely to even out and drop as your metabolism recovers.

 

Begin to calm your thoughts with practices like meditation and yoga

Stress is a complicated phenomenon that has multiple components, but there’s no denying that a stressed state of mind leads to a powerful hormonal stress response in the body. When you’re chronically stressed, you’re more prone to illness, your brain struggles to store new memories, and even your digestion stops working properly.

Begin to calm your mind with classic holistic practices such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi, which can help you get a bit of distance from your thoughts.

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Photo Credit: CongerDesign, Photo by I E on Unsplash

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